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  • Writer's pictureJenni Foshey

What to Pack for Studying Abroad in Africa

Updated: Oct 30, 2020

I’ve had quite a few people now asking for recommendations on what to bring on their trip to an African country. Of course, it depends on what time of the year you go and to what country and region. So, here is my quick list of things to bring. This list is based on my previous trip to Northern Tanzania in June while studying abroad through SFS.


Summer in the US is winter time in Africa. When I was there, the mornings were quite chilly and the sun didn’t start peeking out until around lunch time. After lunch, the day progressively got hotter and I had to go from wearing socks and sandals, leggings, and layers of shirts to wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Keep in mind, I was studying abroad so there were guidelines on what I could wear at our camp versus going out into town. Do some research on the place you are travelling to see if it is a generally modest region or not.


My list of things I brought all fit into one large and one small suitcase, and a Jansport backpack.



CARRY ON (backpack)

100$ for visa at KJO airport

All camera gear

Laptop + charger

Phone + charger

Money + debit/credit card

Passport

Drivers license + student ID

Flight itinerary

Some toiletries

Toothbrush + toothpaste

One change of clothes

SFS Travel Letter and IAP emergency card and Insurance card

Student info card

Medications  [Consult your doctor on any medications you may need for your region of travel (vaccines, malaria pills, etc..)]



SUITCASES (I fit this all into one large and one small suitcase)


Food

- Dried fruit

- Granola bars

- Mixed nuts

- Raisins

- Ritz Peanut butter crackers

- Clif bars

- Ramen Noodles, Mac n' Cheese, etc.. (I didn't, but some students brought items that could be made just by adding hot water. There's always hot water at camp for tea and coffee, but you could also add it to food items you bring.)

- Flavor packets to add in water (like Crystal Light, Kool-Aid, Emergen-C, etc..)



Shoes

- 1 pair of sandals (I love TEVA’s)

- 1 pair of tennis shoes

- Flip flops/slides (Some people brought flip flops to wear around camp and as shower shoes. I just wore my TEVA’s everywhere because they’re so perfect for literally any activity.)

- Hiking boots/Rain Boots (I didn't bring either and was just fine. If I were to pick one, I would bring rain boots because they are better for walking in rivers (but then again, we only did a river activity one day). Hiking boots are helpful for some days, but I wore tennis shoes all the time and was just fine.  They’ll get wet and dirty, so don’t bring ones you care about. The only reason I didn’t bring hiking boots is because I couldn’t find any vegan ones.



Clothes/accessories

- Hoodie / medium jacket

- Hat (I brought one bucket hat and that’s it)

- Hair ties, headbands, clips

- Sunglasses

- 2 long skirts

- 1 knee length skirt

- Light rain jacket

- Socks, sports bras, underwear (don’t bring fancy ones you care about)

- Longer/loose shorts

- Leggings (2 pairs)

- 2 tanktops

- Short sleeve shirts (plain colors are best when packing so you can create more outfits)

- PJ’s

- Tall socks

- Overalls

- 1 pair of jeans

- 1 pair of comfy khakis with pockets in them


School Supplies

- 1 small notebook

- 2 pencils, 2 pens

*remember, I was only abroad for 1 month*



Other

- Journal (Lots of people brought journals to write in every day- I didn't, but I wish I did)

- Mattress pad (I didn’t bring one, but i wish I did for when we camped in the Serengeti)

- Bug spray (Don’t overdo it. I brought a small bottle and only used it like 4 times)

- Sunscreen (Don't overdo it. I bought a small travel size bottle and was fine)

- Pillow

- Brush

- Shampoo/conditioner/soap

- Towel

- Loofa (I just bought one in town)

- Makeup  (Don’t go overboard. Myself and others didn’t really wear any, rarely only mascara was worn and that’s it)

- Hand sanitizer

- Flashlight

- Head light (This was recommended to bring, and I didn't bring it, but I wish I would’ve ...especially would’ve been useful when we camped in the Serengeti)

- Nail clippers

- Tweezers

- Anti-itch cream

- Q-Tips (It’s pretty dusty on safaris. I wish I brought more for cleaning my ears.)

- Clothes pins (Laundry. You don’t need more than 15. You really only need them for socks, bras, and underwear. All other clothes you can just drape over the line.)

- Biodegradable laundry soap (We hand washed our clothes in buckets, so make sure you have biodegradable soap because you need to dump your buckets out in the grass when you’re done. I used Mrs. Meyers brand.)


- 1 Tupperware container with different sections in it (Super important. When going out for the day, we would all fill our Tupperware with food for our lunch. Get one with different sections.)

- Silverware (Reusable. Not disposable. You’ll want this to eat your lunch out of your tupperware.

- Reusable Snack bags (I love PlanetWise; you can get them on Amazon, too)

- Binoculars (I wish I would’ve brought my own instead of waiting to borrow other peoples’.)

- Swimsuit (Bikinis are fine. You’re swimming at lodges only.)

- Clipboard

- Children's books, coloring books, crayons, etc… (If you have room I really recommend bringing these to donate to the local library in town. We walked into town and hand delivered our books to the library and helped sort them. They were so thankful.)

- Vitamins

- Makeup remover/face wipes

- Baby wipes (would've been super useful to bring with on safaris)

- Small camping stool/chair (useful for traveling lectures)

 

If you have any questions about this packing list or anything at all, please contact me! There is a "contact me" tab under the "About Me" Section of this website!


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